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Updated: 42 min 11 sec ago

UK MPs urged to ban ‘virginity repair’ surgery as well as virginity testing

Sat, 08/14/2021 - 21:18

Exclusive: abusive practice should also be outlawed in health bill to protect women, say gynaecologists

The government’s pledge to outlaw virginity testing will be undermined unless fake surgery touted as “virginity repair” is also banned, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has warned.

Last month ministers committed to criminalising the invasive and unscientific “tests” offered by some private clinics to determine whether someone is a virgin through an examination to see if the hymen is intact.

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Celebrities join billboard drive to end taboo around the menopause

Sat, 08/14/2021 - 21:15

Poster campaign tells women they no longer need to ‘keep calm and carry on’

The common symptoms that herald the menopause are regularly dismissed with a joke. A little discomfort? A slight embarrassment? On Monday, a new poster campaign and online charity drive could begin to change all that.

Far from being just “a nuisance”, the slow onset of the menopause can bring with it a debilitating set of conditions and ailments. What’s more, they affect a large proportion of the population and can lead to serious permanent damage to women’s bone health if left untreated.

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Elon Musk’s tiny home won’t help save the world. Paying more taxes would | Arwa Mahdawi

Sat, 08/14/2021 - 02:00

It’s more than a little nauseating to watch a billionaire whose wealth rocketed during a pandemic being venerated for living modestly

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The Guardian view on the Taliban’s advance: not an American debacle but Afghans’ tragedy

Fri, 08/13/2021 - 07:03

People are losing their homes, their freedom and their hope. That should be more of a priority than US credibility

“There’s going to be no circumstance where you’ll see people being lifted off the roof of an embassy of the United States from Afghanistan,” Joe Biden declared earlier this year, referencing the fall of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam war. The Taliban are not yet at the gates of Kabul. But two decades after the US toppled the Islamist militants, it is scrambling to evacuate its nationals, as are its allies. On Wednesday, US officials warned that Afghanistan’s government could fall in as little as 90 days. Since then the Taliban have seized Herat, Kandahar and Lashkar Gah; on Friday they took four more provincial capitals.

Such developments have a momentum of their own. The Taliban have captured more equipment as troops have surrendered, and as others turn tail, fewer see the point or hope in staying on and fighting. As resistance collapses, even the British defence secretary, Ben Wallace, is seeking to distance the UK from its great ally, describing the Trump-negotiated withdrawal agreement as a mistake and a “rotten deal” which Britain tried to resist. Members of the wealthy Afghan political elite, many of whom prospered by plundering the country, have already departed or will do so with ease. But Afghans have been betrayed not only by their military and politicians, but by the long-term mistakes of the US and its allies and the abrupt and ill-planned rush for the exit.

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UK musicians back call to end harassment of women at live gigs

Thu, 08/12/2021 - 19:00

Exclusive: Safe Spaces Now initiative launched as data reveals 40% of women under 40 have been sexually harassed at music event

Mabel, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis are among the names backing a call for change to end the harassment and abuse of women at gigs and festivals.

Organisers of a new Safe Spaces Now music industry initiative say more than 40% of women under 40 have experienced sexual harassment at a live music event.

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South Korean politicians seek to criminalise ‘semen terrorism’

Wed, 08/11/2021 - 16:17

Recent court rulings have punished men on charges of property damage rather than sexually criminal behaviour

Politicians in South Korea are seeking to make amendments to existing laws in order to make “semen terrorism” a punishable sex crime.

The move comes after a string of controversial court verdicts that have punished men who secretly ejaculated onto women’s belongings for “property damage”, and not for sexually criminal behaviour.

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Joan Ullyot obituary

Wed, 08/11/2021 - 06:10
American physician who debunked many of the myths about women and long-distance running

In 1976, the year that Dr Joan Ullyot published her key book Women’s Running, the longest distance that female athletes were allowed to run in the Olympic Games was 1500m. Men, meanwhile, were free to run the 5,000m, 10,000m and the marathon. Ullyot, who has died aged 80 from cardiac arrest, played a crucial role in the movement that eventually led to profound change.

Ullyot, who graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1966 and became an expert in exercise physiology, systematically destroyed many of the myths surrounding women’s running.

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A moment that changed me: I met my soulmate at Istanbul airport security

Tue, 08/10/2021 - 20:00

As a recently divorced British Asian Muslim, I didn’t expect anyone to understand my mix of culture, faith and life experiences. But the woman who became my best friend saw past my aloof exterior

“I was going to take out the wire from my bra and hand it to her!” whispers an annoyed voice from behind me. I turn to see who it is, and in that moment, my life changes.

I am at Istanbul airport. It’s 2004, a few years after 9/11, and there is still heightened security around air travel.

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‘Like I wasn’t a person’: Ethiopian forces accused of systematic rape in Tigray

Tue, 08/10/2021 - 19:01

Mutilation, slavery and torture of women and girls detailed in accounts published by Amnesty, in what organisation says could amount to war crimes

  • Warning: this article contains graphic details of sexual violence that readers may find upsetting

Ethiopian government forces have been systematically raping and abusing hundreds of women and girls in the current conflict in Tigray, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

Adding to a growing body of evidence that rape is being used as a weapon of war in the northern region of Ethiopia, Amnesty’s research offers a snapshot of the extent of the crimes in an area where communications with the outside world have been deliberately restricted by federal authorities.

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‘Flying feminist’ Lilian Bland celebrated in new exhibition

Tue, 08/10/2021 - 18:00

Northern Irish museum celebrates car-dealing, trouser-wearing, jiu-jitsu fighting aviation pioneer

In an era that stifled women, Lilian Bland blazed with a life force that defied all convention, including gravity.

She worked as a press photographer, smoked, wore trousers and dungarees, rode a bicycle, taught jiu-jitsu and opened a car dealership, apparently impervious to the fact that she lived in the Edwardian era.

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Handball chiefs urged to resign over bikini bottoms rule

Tue, 08/10/2021 - 02:43

Women’s sports associations accuse heads of IHF and EHF of ‘blatant sexism’ after Norwegian team fined

Women’s sports associations across Europe have called for the resignation of the presidents of both the international and European handball federations, accusing them of “blatant sexism” for rules that require female players to wear bikini bottoms.

The Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined €1,500 (£1,270) for wearing shorts in protest against the rule during a European Beach Handball Championships match against Spain in Varna, Bulgaria, on 19 July.

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Hey fellas, think you’re an ally to women? Consider a vasectomy | Jill Filipovic

Tue, 08/10/2021 - 00:26

Women are twice as likely to get their tubes tied than men are to get the snip, even though tubal ligation is more invasive, riskier and harder to reverse. It’s time men step up

American men have come a long way, baby. They spend more time with their kids than ever before. Most of them say they want egalitarian marriages and better work-life balance. Two-thirds of married fathers have a wife who works outside the home and contributes to the family income, and about four in 10 of those men have a wife who outearns them. So why, when it comes to family planning, are women doing all the work and men doing so little? To put a finer point on it: why don’t more American men get vasectomies?

The contraception gap is one of the most striking and persistent gender inequities. While close to 100% of American women take steps, at some point in their lives, to prevent pregnancy, the vast majority of them shoulder that burden alone. Fewer than one in 10 relied on condom use – a contraceptive method that requires men to take action. And only about one in 10 married or coupled men have had a vasectomy – the rate for single men is far lower.

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Study links women’s middle-age height loss with greater risk of death

Mon, 08/09/2021 - 12:30

Research suggests those with higher loss are more likely to die early, even when exercise is taken into account

Women who experience greater height loss during middle age may be at higher risk of death, research suggests.

Scientists have previously found that shorter people may have an increased risk of heart disease, with researchers saying the two appear to be linked not just by lifestyle but by genes.

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Unspeakable grief: breaking the silence around terminations for medical reasons

Sun, 08/08/2021 - 23:00

In the UK, at least 5,000 pregnancies a year are terminated after a scan for foetal anomalies. The grief and guilt of parents can endure for years - and they often feel unable to openly discuss their experience


Silma and Binit had been married for two years when they found out they were expecting a “planned, unplanned” baby in December 2019. “We weren’t actively trying, but we knew we wanted to have a baby the following year,” says Silma, sitting in her garden in London. “So we were ecstatic. Really, really happy.” Everything was normal at the 12-week scan in January, and they felt ready to tell their friends, family and colleagues. Silma is a pharmacist at a busy London hospital; Binit works in finance.

Fast forward to March 2020; the day before the couple’s 20-week scan was scheduled, lockdown was announced. The local hospital they had booked in with had already been badly hit by Covid admissions, as well as staff shortages as medics were redeployed or self-isolating. “It was all a bit of a panic,” says Silma, “so I went in on my own, thinking – how naive it was of me to think this – I was there to find out if it was a boy or a girl. I didn’t even want to know, particularly. I had just always thought that’s what the 20-week scan was about.” Binit, who was not allowed to accompany Silma, was waiting outside. He is a softly spoken man who says as much about his feelings with his eyes and his silences as with his voice; he is clearly still traumatised by the memory of that wait.

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‘Sales funnels’ and high-value men: the rise of strategic dating

Sat, 08/07/2021 - 10:00

While courtship handbooks have always existed, for some women new technologies have both facilitated and necessitated a change in approach

Rebekah Campbell remembers the moment she knew things had to change. “I got to age 34 and woke up one Christmas morning on a fold-out bed in the garage of some friends of my parents and was like, ‘I don’t want to live the rest of my life like this,’” she says. “I could see that I was potentially going to miss out on having a family unless I did something drastic.”

Campbell was single and had not been on a date since the death of her boyfriend a decade prior. In those 10 years, she focused her energy on building a successful business career, including founding the order-ahead app Hey You. So she resolved to begin dating the same way she launched brands: by sketching out a plan that resembled the “sales funnel” she used in her work.

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‘No sympathy, no understanding’: the social worker fired while perimenopausal

Fri, 08/06/2021 - 21:00

After 18 years of service, this social worker found no duty of care from her employers when her perimenopause brought on crippling anxiety

I loved my job as a social worker. I always worked above and beyond – overtime, weekends; more than once I turned detective to track down children who had gone missing and travelled to find them, at whatever time of day or night, to persuade them to come back.

Just before I was fired in 2018, one young boy who was lovely – even though he’d had such a sad life – told me that everything had been taken away from him and he supposed that I’d be taken away from him next. I told him not to worry – that I’d be there to look after him until he no longer needed me.

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Menopause at centre of increasing number of UK employment tribunals

Fri, 08/06/2021 - 21:00

Rise in women taking employers to court citing event as proof of unfair dismissal and discrimination

Growing numbers of women are taking their employers to court citing the menopause as proof of unfair dismissal and direct sex discrimination, researchers have said.

According to the latest UK data, there were five employment tribunals referencing the claimant’s menopause in 2018, six in 2019 and 16 in 2020. There have been 10 in the first six months of 2021 alone.

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Chinese uproar as state TV host calls gold-medal winner a ‘manly woman’

Fri, 08/06/2021 - 01:44

Shot put champion Gong Lijiao quizzed about boyfriends and settling down into ‘a woman’s life’

The Chinese state media channel CCTV has been roundly criticised after a TV anchor described an Olympic medallist as a “manly woman” and asked her if she had plans for “a woman’s life”.

Gong Lijiao, 32, won a gold medal in the women’s shot put on Sunday with a personal best of 20.58 metres. It was the first gold medal in a field event for any Chinese athlete ever, and the first gold for an Asian athlete in shot put.

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Sky Brown helps ramp up UK girls’ interest in skateboarding

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 23:13

Thirteen-year-old’s Olympic bronze medal adds to boom in number of people picking up a board

Millions watched as Sky Brown flew around the Olympic skatepark in Tokyo this week. Not only did the performance earn a bronze medal for the 13-year-old, it also sparked a newfound interest in the sport, with more people flocking to skate shops and searching online for skateboarding lessons.

Brown’s success is adding to what has already been a great year for the sport, with the pandemic prompting a boom in the number of people – particularly girls – picking up a board.

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Indonesia army signals end to ‘virginity test’ for female recruits

Thu, 08/05/2021 - 13:53

Human rights groups welcome chief of staff’s apparent decision to end the decades-long, ‘abusive’ practice

Human rights organisations have welcomed the Indonesian army’s apparent decision to end the “abusive” and long-criticised “virginity testing” of female recruitments.

The procedure is known in Indonesia as “the two-finger test”, because during the examination the doctors would insert two fingers inside the woman’s vagina to check whether the hymen is still intact or not. Those declared not to be a virgin would be rejected for recruitment.

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